Reverend Dr. Renita J. Weems

Biblical Scholar, a Writer, an Ordained Minister, and a Public Intellectual

Reverend Dr. Renita J. Weems is a biblical scholar, a writer, an ordained minister, and a public intellectual whose scholarly insights into modern faith, biblical texts, and the role of spirituality in everyday lives make her a highly sought-after writer and speaker.   She has numerous books, commentaries and articles on the Bible and prophetic religion to her credit. Among these are “Just A Sister Away” (1987 & 2005); “I Asked for Intimacy” (1993); “Song of Songs: A Commentary”, Interpreter’s Bible Series, Vol. 5 (Abingdon, 1997). Her 1999 book, “Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt” (Simon & Schuster), won the Religious Communicators’ Council’s prestigious 1999 Wilbur Award for “excellence in communicating spiritual values to the secular media”. Dr. Weems received her B.A. from Wellesley College (Wellesley, Massachusetts) and her Masters and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary (Princeton, New Jersey). Upon receiving her Ph.D. in 1989 from Princeton, she became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Old Testament studies. Invited by Yale University to deliver the prestigious Lyman Beecher Lectures in 2008, she became the first African American woman ever to give the Beecher lectures. She taught in the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University for many years; she has served as the William and Camille Cosby Visiting Professor of Humanities at Spelman College and, more recently, as the Vice President of Academic Affairs at American Baptist College in Nashville. These days she relishes being able to return to her first love which is writing. When she isn’t writing and enjoying her favorite two past times (biking and quilting), she co-pastors with her husband, Rev. Martin L. Espinosa, the Ray Of Hope Community Church in Nashville; an inner city ministry founded 20 years ago.